Sunday, January 20, 2008

A War Waged!

A battlefield would be the word I will use to describe my run on Saturday. A 40 mile pace run was on the schedule....the biggest effort thus far in training.....on a tired body....with a now pea sized lump on behind my ear. To many negative items in the list above but the run was going to take place despite all of them. Friday night I reluctantly gathered my things and tried to prepare myself for the next day but it was a poor showing with a poor mental outlook. I was right down scared of this run, the paces and the unknown of how my body was going to hold up. With just Bill and I at home and Alex at his grandparents for the night it was not quite the "date night" you dream of. Normal dinner and DVD episodes of House M.D. was the plan. Bill was thinking of coming out to run a lap with dogs on Saturday so he felt he needed rest too. :).

On the road to Champoeg Park at 6:45 a.m. Stacey and I both talked about the run and how we would approach it. 7 10K loops was the plan with the first 2 miles being a warm up then it was pace running for about 6.5 loops or 40 miles. Micheal and Darin were there from the get go but Darin was just out for 2 loops and Micheal was going to see how he felt after a gruelling work week and running on little sleep. The weather was as grey as my mood but at least it wasn't raining. The clouds hung low which seemed appropriate. We headed off for the warm up and I wasn't paying any attention to the pace or time but now I know it was too fast and short for me. I should have monitored myself better but frankly I was in the "get it over with" frame of mind. Before we knew it we had reached the 1.5 mile mark and were off for the pace portion. My goals and instructions were this.....35-40 miles at 8:25-8:30 and NO FASTER than 8:22. Scott was very stern on the the NO FASTER THAN 8:22 pace order. For the first 2 miles of the 3.1 segment all the markers were in place from when I wheeled the course over a month ago. After the 2 mile mark there were none so it wasn't as easy to monitor pace for the last 1.1 miles. My mood certainty allowed me to gripe and whine about the measly 1.1 miles with no markers. Pretty sad when something like that can make you testy. :). The first loop was no big deal and it was more of a "get in the groove" loop. I quickly gathered data to help me monitor myself. I had to keep my heart rate above 153 and no higher than 158 even on the hills. Otherwise I would be too slow or too fast so this was a good way to keep things going without the markers. The second loop was fine but I could tell the day was going to be a struggle both mentally and physically. My legs could hold the pace but my mind was reeling with excuses and negative thoughts. Darin left us and it was just Micheal, Stacey and I. Micheal and I hung together while Stacey kept her pace which was somewhere around 8:30-8:40 so just behind us. Micheal and I were not our usually chatting happy selves and the third lap was very quiet. I could tell Micheal was tired and I am sure I griped enough for him to know I was pooped. A shell of runner, a beaten soul, a battered body and not a mental giant, at least not today, those are the feeling and thoughts running rampid through my mind. It was like a bad movie or a record with the needle stuck repeating the same chorus over and over.

The fourth lap was daunting as my body was gathering soreness but most concerning was my soleus muscle on my left leg. It seemed to twinge with every step and there were a lot of steps. I told Micheal, "I don't think I can do this". He quickly replied in perfect pacer/crew/friend/supporter/counselor fashion, "yes you can"! I fought back with words I can' body soleus is talking to me and it's not good pain....I don't want to hurt myself. He just ran and kept quiet not indulging any of my poor me talk. I made bargains....If my pace degrades I am quiting.....just one more loop and I am DONE. When we finish the 4th loop and Stacey comes bouncing in with a smile so wide the enamel from her teeth was blinding saying, "just three more and we are done, this 5th one will be the hardest". I look straight at her and say, "The 5th loop is it for me, I am toast". She looks backs concerned and says, "you can do this". Growling we all leave for number 5 and work hard to keep my heart rate above 153 and deal with a whirlpool of negativity trying to recall the last time I have been so NOT into a run. It's been years since I have been this poopy to be around. I could barely stand myself!

The bargains and agendas continued in my mind....the battlefield. The war was waging between the body,the brain, the determination, the quitter, the winner, the whiner, the achiever, the baby, the mature woman and anyone else that possesses my phychy. There were so many players I can't even remember them all. The 5th loop was a bit slower but unfortunately I was still able to MAKE PACE.....the only legitimate reason I had for quiting was a degrading pace. Micheal cried "uncle" after 5 loops or 31 miles. His hellish week got the best of him and really he has no reason to be out here running on a hamster wheel. I just appreciate him and his support so much but I could see he reached his limit. Perfect! I could quit too.....but then here comes Stacey bouncing in again and I say I am done! She says one more loop and I say, "that's it for me then" in a sharp unpleasant fashion. With Micheal's car fading in the distance it was just me and my mind.....lovely. I cranked up my headphones in desperate hope to drown out my demons with some great song and it helped. Not that my bargains and nasty disposition didn't scream louder than Def Leopard but I held pace.....darn! "Home stretch" that's what I tell myself at the turn and with that knowledge alone many of aches, pains and stinky attitude seemed to fade making that 3.1 miles one of my fastest! That's just not right! How could that be? Why is that true? 37.2 miles is enough, right? Your pace will certainly degrade if you continue! All that stuff plus a couple of tears went on before Stacey arrived. This is where friends who know you well can save your day. I am firm about being done but Stacey says, "Now Rooster I don't want you to get in the car and pissed in ten minutes because you didn't do a full 40 miles so I say we go out another 1.5 miles and then turn around, that will give us a full 40 miles". Knowing full well she was right but I still negotiated, "I will go to the 1.25 mark and turn around"! I run off but make sure I tell her she is mean! She just looks at me with a smile and tucks in behind. I run and my first mile was an 8:06.....come on....that means I have to go the full 1.5 like she says so I just keep going and she follows. We make it back to the car and WE ARE DONE! 40.2 miles in 5:34 for me! RUNNING IS SO MENTAL!

My body ached but she was so right. I would have kicked myself ten times over if I hadn't done at least 40 miles. I got home and plunked in my numbers and was shocked at the pace given how I felt. The mental challenge of the day was exhausting. I honestly could find nothing positive to grab a hold and use as an anchor. The running pace was actually fairly easy but the mental battle was so difficult, one of the most difficult wars I can remember waging with myself. On the positive side of things I got to try out the new 10oz ultimate direction handheld. A perfect size and amount for me on short runs!

Today was 1.5 hours easy "internal massage" running or at least that is what Scott calls it. I met Kris and Tom on the trails and Tom takes one look at me and says, "You look like SH--". We all laugh because it was true. He proceeds to point out that my eyes are swollen and blank and I look gaunt. Lovely description but again true. Bill and I went out for Mexican food yesterday after the run. It was the perfect splurge from my nutrition but the immense amount of salt didn't help the puffy eyes. The run started out rocky but ended wonderfully. I felt better and better as we moved along the Wildwood. Barely sore or fatigued but it could be the high from all the earlier compliments so I won't get to excited.:) I got to show off my new Cascadia 3 trail shoes. I just love them! The old model did not fit my wide forefront with their sock/tongue system and they did away with that and I am happy to have them back! Cool color huh!


  1. Nice work Ronda. Good even pace that screams your hard work is paying off.

    Remember it is often the toughest workouts that make us the strongest!

  2. Rooster, Micheal here. You ROCK! You truly are amazing. I'm sorry I bailed on you but I am so proud of you for continuing and kicking butt. YOU CAN MAKE 8:22's AT ORANGE CURTAIN!

  3. Holly Cow! Did I say 10 before? Lets shoot for 9!

  4. Wow, what a suspenseful and great write-up! That kind of experience, learning to bully, cajole, bargain your way through (and accept the encouragement of others) is going to be so INVALUABLE for OC and any race! As you well know, I'm sure. Glad egg is now a pea. But -still! What is the g.d. thing? Do you HAVE a lymph node there?

  5. Hi Rooster - I've been lurking on your blog for several weeks and enjoy your posts. I added a link to your blog on mine - let me know if you'd like me to remove it.

    Glad you were able to win the mental battle and stick out your long run too! Sometimes the only thing that hurts worse than finishing a long brutal run is NOT finishing one that you've started (especially if it's a race)!